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Skincare Advice from Dr. Burgess

Dr. Cheryl Burgess

Dr. Burgess is the founder and president of the Center for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery in Washington, DC. She is Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center and George Washington University Hospital, Washington, DC.

Dr. Burgess has shared her vast knowledge of skin of color with BioCosmetic Research Labs to help us create the Black Opal skincare line.

  • More on Dr. Burgess
Why does my skin get so dry during the winter?
Dr. Burgess: During the winter months, the atmospheric humidity level is much lower than during the summer months. The subsequent change in humidity can cause the skin to lose moisture into the air at a higher rate than in warmer weather, thus causing dryer skin.

How do I choose between a creme and a lotion?
Dr. Burgess: In general, cremes will provide more hydration than a lotion formulation.

Besides lotions and cremes what can I do about my dry skin?
Dr. Burgess: In the winter months, decreasing the daily bathing water temperature to lukewarm and limiting exposure time to water will minimize dryness. Use a moisturizing cleansing bar and moisturize the skin with a creme or lotion immediately after drying off. Moisturizing twice daily may be necessary for extreme dry skin.

Can dry skin be caused by other underlying conditions?
Dr. Burgess: Occasionally, extreme cases of dry skin may represent conditions such as eczema and ichthyosis; so if your skin is unresponsive to over the counter emollients, consult with a board-certified dermatologist.

I think I have sensitive skin, how do I know?
Dr. Burgess: Approximately 50% of you believe you have "sensitive skin". Although there is no agreed upon definition by physicians, patients or skin care industry, most people will attribute itching, redness, hives, irritation, dryness or scaling reactions to skin care products as signs of sensitivity.

Will there be changes in my skin and hair as I get older?
Dr. Burgess: There is a slower skin turnover, increased skin dryness; change in skin color; thinning of scalp and body hair, and for some increased facial hair growth.

How can I fight the signs of aging?
Dr. Burgess: Sun protection, cosmeceutical skin care products and a diet rich in antioxidants are the entry point to addressing aging skin and body.

How can I determine my skin type?
Dr. Burgess: Knowing your skin type will help you pick the right product s for your skin and helps you to provide your skin with the best care. There are 5 basic skin types: Dry, Oily, Normal, Combination & Sensitive. Women who are aging may experience shifts in the normal state of their skin transitioning to dry or sensitive skin as they get older.

  • DRY SKIN - Skin always feels tight, looks rough, has small, with possible barely visible pores and is tight and flaky, especially during the winter.
  • OILY SKIN - If you have large pores all over your face and your skin gets shiny throughout the day and visible oil appears, then you have oil within your skin, and therefore can be considered an oily skin type.
  • NORMAL SKIN - If your skin produces just a little T-zone oil (mostly in the summer) but the skin doesn’t usually get flaky, though it my feel tight, then you can be considered a normal skin type.
  • COMBINATION SKIN - If your pores are larger primarily in the T-zone (across forehead, nose and chin) and visible oil appears in those areas throughout the day, but the skin produces only a little oil in other areas, then you can be considered a combination skin type.
  • SENSITIVE SKIN - Skin that is thin or a fine-textured, easily irritated, red, rashy, blotchy or prone to allergic reactions. Sensitive skin reacts quickly to temperature changes from heat, cold or wind and can fall into the oily, dry, or combination categories.
Why did you develop the even true line and get rid of the black opal fade,blemish and moisture products?
Dr. Burgess: Even True combines the best products from the Black Opal Fade, Blemish and Moisture and consolidates the benefits into one solution. We rebranded our skincare product portfolio to speak to achieving the desired overall benefit of skin that was healthy-looking, even toned, moisturized and blemish free.

Our new Even True formulas have been enhanced with proven technology and ingredients such as:
  • Skin Tone True Complex™ , is a unique patented delivery system formulated with the DermX ™ Megasphere ™ Delivery System, brightening peptides and natural botanical ingredients which work synergistically with Hydroquinone or the Brightening Molecule to ehance the rate, depth and volume of ingredients that help fade darkened areas, marks from past blemishes and age spots
  • Glycolic and salicylic acids to help detoxify skin, unclog pores and refine skin texture
  • Natural citrus extracts to help renew brightness and even skin tone
  • Papaya, oats and mixed fruit extracts to help polish away dull surface cells and rejuvenate skin tone
  • Cocoa and shea butters to help condition skin so it remains soft, supple, and moisturized
  • Emollient jojoba, olive and abyssinian oils to nourish and hydrate skin
  • Peppermint, aloe vera and white lotus flower to calm, soothe, repair and refresh skin
  • Broad Spectrum SPF15 Sunscreen to protect skin from harmful sun effects

The entire Even True line has ingredients that will help to improve skin’s tone, hydrate and treat skin while helping to promote a luminous appearance.
What is a good skincare regimen?
Dr. Burgess: Choose skin care regimens that cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, protect and treat specific skin issues.

  • For example:
  • If you are developing minor acne and dark spots, choose a skin care regimen that addresses acne. There are cleansers and treatments that contain acne treating ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acids.
  • Cleansers should be used twice daily and all make-up should be removed before going to bed.
  • Use oil-free or light moisturizers that will not clog the pores; avoid greasy and oily substances on the skin.
  • Dark spots will diminish with exfoliation and lightening agents. Therefore, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid exfoliate and hydroquinone ingredients assist in lightening blemishes left on the skin after an acne flare up.
  • Always use Broad Spectrum SPF protection with a minimum SPF 15!
Why does the amount of melanin in my skin matter?
Dr. Burgess: The right levels of melanin are mandatory for smooth, even-toned skin. When too much melanin is produced, it triggers a condition called hyperpigmentation, dark spots and patches appearing on the skin.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, too little melanin can result in hypopigmentation, the appearance of light spots that can mar a healthy looking complexion, ex. Vitilligo
What causes hyperpigmentation and how can I get rid of it?
Dr. Burgess: Hyperpigmentation can be caused by a variety of things such as:
  • Overexposure to the sun
  • Medications
  • Modifications in diet
  • Hormonal changes
  • Allergic reactions

There are 3 main types of hyperpigmentation:
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). This occurs following skin injury from acne lesions, psoriasis, burns, friction and even certain professional skin care treatments. It begins to fade as the skin regenerates itself—a process that can take months or more. On the positive side, PIH generally responds well to treatment.
  • Lentigines. These are commonly known as liver spots or age spots. Although they do become more prevalent with age—they are found on 90% of light-skinned individuals over the age of 60. Lentigines is not caused directly by aging but related to UV exposure.
  • Melasma. This is caused by hormonal fluctuations, common, for example, during pregnancy, with thyroid dysfunction, and through use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. It affects an estimated five to six million women in the United States alone and can often be difficult to treat.

Topical agents that contain ingredients such as 2% Hydroquinione or Sepiwhite, can be used to inhibit tyrosinase, a key enzyme that produces excessive pigmentation. These have been scientifically proven to have a dramatic lightening effect on skin pigmentation and can be safe, fast and effective in controlling hyperpigmentation. Once the hyperpigmentaion has cleared, the use of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can be used to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin.
What causes acne?
Dr. Burgess: Acne is an inflammatory condition involving the oil gland and pores of the face, chest, back, shoulders, neck and/or scalp. The inflammatory condition is influenced by our body's hormones or is induced by something we are doing to our skin.

Acne is graded as mild to severe by the dermatologist. Mild acne refers to comedones (whiteheads or blackheads) and papules (raised acne bumps); while pustules (pus bumps) and cystic acne (large tender bumps) refers to moderate or severe acne.
What is a good skincare routine?
Dr. Burgess: A good skin care routine can consist of the following steps:
  • Cleanse skin morning and night to help control oil and shine
  • Removes toxins, impurities and makeup that can clog pores
  • Controls overly active sebaceous glands, oily skin and excess shine which can make it susceptible to whiteheads, blackheads and frequent breakouts
  • Limit cleansing to twice a day to avoid stripping skin of natural oils, causing dryness/ashiness or over stimulating oil glands
  • Removes all traces of any leftover debris or make-up
  • Tightens and smooth pores
  • Removes dead skin cells that can make skin appear dull or tired
  • De-clogs enlarged pores to help prevent blemishes
  • Promotes even skin tone
  • Diminishes dark spots
  • Corrects hyperpigmentation
  • Fades acne blemishes
  • Restores radiance
  • Addresses special skin care concerns such as treating dark spots or hyperpigmentation, acne, blemishes, whiteheads and black heads, facial hair, ingrown hairs and razor bumps
  • Nourishes and conditions skin with a moisturizing creme or lotion
  • Wear a minimum broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen daily on your skin